Volcanoes National Park, Kailua-Kona
experience the volcano! You can do this by helicopter ($$$$!) or with your own car.
Fondest memory: I had been saving up some extra money for this flight, hoping that I would see one of Kilauea´s famous eruptions. But alas, the lava was flowing underground.... BUT I still got rewarded (see below).
Fondest memory: Driving down from Kilauea towards the sea, you can actually reach the fresh lava by car. After that point, it´s HIKING. Bring good shoes, for the path is uneven. You can actually get relatively close to the dramatic scenery, and it´s certainly a sight at night (the point is, you´ll have to find your way back in darkness. Now that´s NOT so funny).
Fondest memory: Standing up on Kilauea, next to the crater of Halemaumau. This crater used to be full of lava even at the beginning of the 20th century. It´s considered the home of Goddess Pele, and ceremonies are held in her honour. There is no more lava today, and a good road runs right around.It´s not dead though: there´s still smoke coming from numerous vents, and the sulfur smell is in the air....
Visiting Volcanos National Park was worth the whole trip. The Drive from Kona was about 2 1/2 hours, so get started early and plan on a long day. Better yet, if your going to visit VNP stay in Hilo or at the Volcano House, which is perched on the edge of the caluldera. The sights here will take your breath away.
Fondest memory: the most memorable part of this trip was walking on rocks only 6 weeks old. The lava had crossed the chain of craters road on 31Mar/1Apr. and we visited on the 15May.
Fondest memory: The lava keeps building the island, regardless of human activities or needs. The lava flows will cover wilderness as well as cultivated land and does not stop at roads. There used to run a road down there....
Fondest memory: Our pilot flew us straight to the active crater called PuuOo. And further on, we learned how lava meets the sea.
No, we didn´t see that. Unfortunately. But I chose this picture anyway to demonstrate nature´s powers!
Fondest memory: The path over the lava is relatively good and well marked. It´s a bit windy down there, so bring a windproof jacket!
Fondest memory: Hiking along the crater rim is certainly an adventure of the special kind. Don´t forget to pack clothes for wet weather - there´s always a good chance of getting wet up here!
Looking at the island from above is like touching God hand.
To bee happy in the big island you must love the outdoors.